This is a very, very special vintage Maton. Barry Morton, a Melbourne-born Jazz guitarist of some note who became Director of Jazz Guitar Studies at the Queensland Conservatorium, collaborated with Maton in 1981 to design a high-end jazz guitar, which was built in extremely low numbers (some put the number at 7, others at 19, but either way it is a very exclusive model!)
This guitar is the first made, serial number 1, built in November 1981, and with a special inlay on the fretboard at the 22nd fret with Barry Morton's name engraved on it.
Why M5? I wonder if it was deemed to be Maton's (M), or Morton's (also M) answer to Gibson's L5? M5...sort of makes sense.
Whatever the source of the model name was, it is a high-end and very serious jazz guitar. It is effectively a high-quality acoustic archtop with sensitively-added single pickup and pickguard-mounted volume and tone controls. The top is carved solid Sitka Spruce, while the back, sides and neck are all Rock Maple. The fretboard is a beautiful example of lush, dark Ebony (you never see Ebony of this quality these days), while the bridge and headstock veneer are Rosewood. The hardware is gold-plated, and the block markers are mother-of-pearl.
The guitar has a dream neck, and is very fast and comfortable to play. It is strung with Thomastic Jazz round-wound 12-50 strings which complement the guitar's incredible acoustic qualities while also suiting the original pickup (a humbucker PAF Di Marzio).
The guitar presents extremely well, showing beautiful ageing from a well-played but well cared-for past. There are various small indentations and marks, and the finish on the back of the neck is worn through in some places, but this is a stunningly original and honest high-end jazz guitar.